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Phylogeography and the genetics of invasive species

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Item Summary

Title: Phylogeography and the genetics of invasive species
Authors: Gaither, Michelle Renee
Keywords: Alien species
Issue Date: Dec 2011
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2011]
Abstract: Alien species can affect ecosystem structure through habitat alteration, competition with native species, hybridization, or direct predation upon natives. Predicting which species are probable invaders, understanding how they spread, and which ecosystems are most vulnerable is of immense scientific and practical interest. For my dissertation I applied phylogeographic and population level analyses to study introduced fishes in Hawai„i to examine how these species spread and what factors limit their ranges. Here I capitalized on the 1950‟s introduction of Lutanjus kasmira, L. fulvus, and Cephalopholis argus to Hawai„i. All three species are firmly established in Hawai„i. L. kasmira is by far the most successful of the three fishes having spread over 2,500 km and reaching the far northwest end of the archipelago in just 34 years. C. argus, on the other hand, has spread only to the middle of the archipelago at French Frigate Shoals while L. fulvus is restricted (so far) to the Main Hawaiian Islands. Conducting range-wide genetic surveys for each speices and using genetic structure across the natural range as a proxy for dispersal ability I found a remarkable correlation between genetic structure and invasion success. L. kasmira, the most widespread of the three species in the non-native range, demonstrates little genetic structure across nearly 20,000 km of its natural range, indicating that this species is able to cross large stretches of open ocean, find suitable habitat, settle, and reproduce. In contrast, L. fulvus, the least widespread of the three species in Hawaii, showed significant population structure at all geographic scales indicating that this species is successfully dispersing over only short geographic distances. C. argus shows an intermediate pattern. While the association between invasiveness and dispersal ability seems intuitive, this is the first time the relationship has been examined using empirical data. Understanding how invasive species spread and what affects they have at the ecosystem level will allow more informed management of these altered systems as well as predict the consequences of future invasions.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101468
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Zoology



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